Ring road eases eastern traffic

Traffic lights will control the intersection and later the crossroads when the ring road extends straight ahead to link with Cobham Drive.

City commuters can get away from old bottlenecks with the opening of another section of the Hamilton ring road.

The opening of Wairere Drive through to a new intersection at Ruakura Rd will see two new sets of traffic signals turned on - at Bisley Rd intersection (formerly East St) and at Ruakura Rd - and includes a new rail overbridge over the east coast main trunk railway.

The opening of the latest 600m of road marks the completion of the 3.5km section of Wairere Drive from Crosby Rd through to Ruakura Rd. The two-year project which cost $35 million has been completed on time and on budget.

Significant traffic management will remain around Ruakura Rd, but Hamilton City Council and its contractors were keen to open the route as soon as possible given the major road works and traffic management at the Ruakura Rd/Peachgrove Rd/Te Aroha St intersection, as well as opening the link for the start of the school year.

The four-lane arterial route also includes shared walking and cycle pathways.

City development acting unit manager Martin Mould says it's great to see this section of Wairere Drive open "and I know Hamilton residents will be pleased because it will make getting around a whole lot easier for them".

"This is a busy part of the city and the opening of this stretch of Wairere Drive will greatly improve traffic flows through the eastern part of our city, which includes many schools and the university."

Meanwhile, work is due to begin this week on the latest section of expressway linking Auckland and Hamilton.

Industry giant Fletcher Construction has won the $105 million contract to build the 4.8km Rangiriri section of the Waikato Expressway, a project described by NZ Transport Agency project manager Richard Young as "great news for the Waikato".

"Along with improving safety and reducing travel times, this particular section of the Waikato Expressway also provides the NZTA with a unique opportunity to acknowledge Rangiriri's cultural and historical significance," he said.

Mr Young said the project will realign the current SH1 to the west, near the Waikato River, avoiding the historic sites of the Rangiriri Pa and battle trench.

The section, expected to be completed by late 2016, includes an interchange at the intersection of SH1 and Te Kauwhata Rd and an interchange at Rangiriri. The project will provide for two lanes of traffic in each direction, divided by a central barrier.

There would be minor delays during the three-year construction but drivers would not notice much change until about Easter, Mr Young said.

Rangiriri was the site of the historic 1863 battle of Rangiriri, part of the New Zealand land wars.

It is also one of the areas where it was announced King Potatau would be the first Maori King.

- Hamilton News

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